Vs. 1 "Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right."
With this verse we enter into another sphere of the home where the principle of submission is to be operative. The first four verses of this chapter has to do with children, and their place in the home. The bible is yet, and shall: always be the best training manual on the rearing of children.
The bible has much to say about the bringing up of children, and it behooves every concerned parent to know what God has to say on the subject. It is cause for alarm when professing Christian parents prefer doctor spock’s word to that of the Holy Spirit’s. Child psychology may have some merit in it, but the saved parent need never go outside the pages of Holy Writ to find out how to rear their children.
We are living in an era where the laws of God written to regulate the home are not only ignored, but scorned. Consequently, the home is in disarray, and the nations abounding immorality is the bitter fruit of broken homes.
The E.R.A. Which would place women on equal footing with men in all areas except where they are physically limited is a smack at Divine authority vested in man, and is but one step removed from a "children’s bill of rights," which if and when it comes will regard the freedom of the child as an absolute. God said a long time ago, "...whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap" (Gal. 6:7). Our nation’s failure to cultivate the home according to the principles set forth in God’s word is a sowing of the wind, and we are now reaping the whirlwind.
The text reads, "children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right." But many parents have reversed the order, and from observing the child-parent relationship one would think the text reads, "parents obey your children." A sad, but true commentary could be written on the deterioration of respect between children and parents.
An axiom, or self evident truth is, there cannot be disorderly children, except there first be disorderly parents. Cain could never have slain Able if Adam had not first rebelled against Father God. Absolom would not have been the child to force his father David out of his own home if David had not destroyed the home Uriar (2 Sam. 11, 15, 16).
Homes will remain intact if parents will assume their God given responsibility to each other, and to their children: the measure of responsibility imbalance in the home is the exact measure of danger the home is in toward falling apart.
"Children, obey your parents in the Lord..." The Ephesians epistle is addressed to the saints at Ephesus which constituted the church at Ephesus, so it is, Paul reminds the children that their parents are Christians, and get their instruction in child training from the Lord. The word "obey" carries with it the thought of willful obedience, as opposed to coercive submission. The home addressed is a Christian home, and obedience of children is necessary to the maintaining of God’s preeminence in the home.
Paul, in setting forth the Childs responsibility to obey his parents,
adds, "...for this is right." It is a moral responsibility of all
children to obey their parents; it is a thing that is settled, because
it is right in itself. This being true in the natural realm, how much
more seriously should parents who know children are a heritage of the
Lord, and that they must give an account of their child stewardship unto
their heavenly Father. Yet, the primary thrust of Paul’s words is
directed toward children, and their responsibility to their parents is
spelled out in the word "obey."
Paul quotes the fifth commandment from the Decalogue, which commands children to do more than merely obey their parents, they are to "honour" their parents in their obedience, that is, their obedience is to be a loving obedience, rather than grievous.
Children are not given an option in the matter, the command is clearly stated. Their obligation to obey is not voluntary, but their obedience should be of such nature to make it appear so. If the child would consider the sacrifices their parents have made in their behalf, no plan or thought is formulated without considering the welfare of the children; then the proper honour would be paid parents, wherein the heartiest affection would be manifested.
How can the saint look back to Calvary and know the sacrifice Christ has made in their behalf, and not render loving obedience unto him? Plainly, Christ says, "...if a man love me, he will keep my words..." (John 14:23). It may take chastisement, but God is going to receive honour from His children. God is not disinclined toward chastisement, neither should godly parents be.
"...The first commandment with promise."
The promise referred to is quoted in verse three, "that it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth." This commandment and promise was originally given to Israel (Ex. 20:12), and had in view the perpetual possession of Caanan. But Paul gives a wider compass to the promise making it apply to all children who render honorable obedience to their parents.
A second question may be raised, "is it true that children who obey and honour their parents live longer lives on earth than those who do not?" In answering this question, let us remember, bible rewards are always the results of faithfulness or obedience to God. A person is saved by the unmerited grace and favor of God. Salvation is not a reward, but a gift. Salvation cannot be earned, but rewards can be earned. A saved person should obey God, being motivated by love and respect for God, exclusive of rewards. We (the saved) should love God with all of our heart for what He has already done for us, irregardless of what He shall yet do for us.
So it is the promise (vs. 3) is not a bribe to motivate children to fulfill their filial responsibilities. The principle involved here is that of filial obedience, and the promise connected thereto is a revelation of God’s general purpose in dealing with parent child relationship. It does not mean in the absolute or specific sense that every obedient child shall live longer on the earth that a disobedient child, but it does mean that this is the general rule.
This statement is made by God almighty, and is recorded by the Holy
Spirit, and is attested to by history. Children who obey their parents
are usually kept back from the life consuming follies of youth. Children
would be wise to rely upon the mature judgments of their fathers and
So it is, the usual course of God’s providence has been that children which honor and obey their parents live longer, and prosper in spiritual matters more than rebellious children. However, we need to remember that this promise is fulfilled only to the extent that it serves to glorify God, and the children’s good. Many have been the time that martyrdom at an early age served the glory of God, more than an extended life of service on earth would have done.